Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (MSN, DNP, & Certificate) Online

AG CNS nursing student with geriatric patient patient

Flexible curriculum plans, 100% online

Are you interested in a transformational experience of becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in the role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)? Through the College of Health Professions & McAuley School of Nursing, you will develop clinical expertise, lead nursing care and make real change happen at the bedside and in the boardroom. You will learn to speak concisely about the importance of your role and enjoy a full understanding about the outcomes of CNS practice. As an APRN, you know that outcomes are critical to the viability of healthcare systems today and that the CNS role is essential.

At Detroit Mercy, students become an AG-CNS who prescribes patient-centered care, transforms nurses and leads projects with an integrated and holistic viewpoint.

Our AG-CNS program offers you:

  • latest National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (2019) competencies

  • education for full scope of practice with advanced holistic care and prescribing

  • advanced principles in adult learning for teaching roles

  • exit at masters level (if desired)

  • core courses at DNP level (15 cr/7000 level) for ease towards DNP (if desired)

  • learning in Jesuit and Mercy traditions

  • student-centered approach with dedicated faculty team and support staff

  • flexible curriculum plans, 100% online, no residency requirement

  • practice-ready at graduation

100% pass rate for national AG CNS exam
100% AG CNS grads are employed in the CNS field
in 2017 CNS saw pay spikes up to $102,000

The 2016-20 Detroit Mercy graduating classes achieved a 100% pass rate across the national certification exams for the Adult-Gerontology CNS through ANCC (non-acute care CNS), AACN (critical care CNS) and ONC-C (oncology).

Our graduates achieve great careers, with 100% of Detroit Mercy AGCNS graduates employed in CNS roles, care coordination, academia and across settings to include telemedicine.

CNSs saw the highest pay spikes among APRNs in 2017 up to $102,000, which is an increase of 7.4% over 2015 figures (Medscape APRN Compensation Report 2017).

U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” edition ranks Detroit Mercy’s program among the nation’s best on-line master’s in nursing programs. Our program performed well in multiple categories, including student excellence, faculty credentials and training, and services and technologies.


Application deadlines

Fall term – August 15th
Winter term – December 1st
Summer term – May 1st
*Now accepting qualified applicants upon passing NCLEX.

Learn About the Clinical Nurse Specialist Role and Our Program

Watch the video and view the Frequently Asked Questions document.

Meet with Dr. Saunders

Call her directly or send an email with your questions and to make an appointment.

Mitzi M. Saunders, PhD, APRN, CNS-C

Mitzi M. Saunders, PhD, APRN, CNS-C
734-355-2792 or saundemm@udmercy.edu
Professor and Program Coordinator, AG-CNS, Detroit Mercy

Join Dr. Saunders at an Information Session.

In this video presentation, Dr. Mitzi Saunders informs the viewer about the versatility of the Clinical Nurse Specialist role. The Clinical Nurse Specialist is more than a Practitioner but an Advocate/Leader for Nurses/Nursing Practice and a Champion of Evidence-Based Practice Projects. Contact Dr. Mitzi for more information on our CNS program.

Dedicated AG-CNS faculty

Our dynamic group of CNS faculty want to spend the time it takes to make your experience at Detroit Mercy the best it can be. We know graduate studies are an important aspect of your lives and that life continues to move forward in unexpected ways. As a result, our faculty maintain an atmosphere of rigor with flexibility and will work diligently with any student who needs extra support, allowing students to choose their pace. Our goal is to ensure your success and do whatever is necessary to help you achieve it.

Our students say great things about their Detroit Mercy experience. As an institution founded on the Jesuit and Mercy traditions, we look forward to helping you transform your life and career!

What are our students saying?

Tracey Robilotto

"Thank you so much for providing me with one of the best educational experiences of my life. I am so grateful and look forward to the opportunities that await me as a Clinical Nurse Specialist."
— Karrah Lambert
Carol_batchelder_agcns.jpg
"You have a terrific program with great support staff. It is very cohesive and collaborative."
— Carol Batchelder

Who is a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)?

headshot of rachel

"The CNS is a champion for quality patient care. We are APRNs with graduate preparation, sharing the same core courses as NPs (A&P, patho and pharm). However, our focus is not only providing diagnosis, treatment and ongoing management of patients, but also using our nursing expertise to support the work of the nurses at the bedside and advancing our practice by being the voice of nursing in the boardroom. We also function on the systems level by initiating research, quality improvement, cost saving strategies and implementation of evidence-based practice."
—  Rachel Orfei '18, MSN, APRN, CNS-C

lisa headshot

"A CNS is an advanced practice nurse who specializes in a patient population or clinical area to be a champion of evidence based practice, high-quality care and patient outcomes. We work across three spheres (the system, nurse and patient) to ensure the system is set up so it is easy for the nurses to do the right thing every time and thus provide high quality care to patients to give them the best outcomes. We are master collaborators and agents of change."
Lisa McCann-Spry ’18, MSN, APRN, CNS-C

CNS judy headshot

"The Clinical Nurse Specialist is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with prescriptive authority who practices holistic, comprehensive, advanced nursing care for complex patients, improves nurse sensitive indicators by implementing evidence-based practices in a cost-saving manner, and leads change at the system level."

— Judy Waltz '21

 

A Note to Online Students

It is the responsibility of all applicants applying for admission in an online graduate nursing program to confirm if the program meets specific licensure requirements in the applicant’s state of residence. Applicants may contact the applicable licensing board.

Department of Education Reciprocity Statement
Successful completion of the McAuley School of Nursing (MSON) graduate APRN nursing program qualifies the graduate to take the appropriate national certification examination (AG-CNS: ANCC or AANC) for their specialty. Graduates who plan to practice in Michigan may find more information on licensure at Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, phone 517-241-0199, or email BPLHelp@michigan.gov

University of Detroit Mercy has not made a determination of whether the nursing curriculum meets the educational requirements in any state other than Michigan. Students are urged to contact the specific board of nursing in the state in which they intend to practice in order to ensure they are in full compliance with the education, practice and certification requirements. It is the responsibility of all applicants applying for admission in an online graduate nursing program to confirm if the program meets specific licensure requirements in the applicant’s state of residence. Applicants may contact the applicable licensing board.

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    Sample Program Plan

    Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Sample Program Part-Time Plan (pdf)

    The Part-Time plan is the recommended plan but students can elect to take one course each semester too. Students may begin the program in any semester as noted on the plans (Fall, Winter, or Summer). All courses are 100% online and run asynchronously with active engagement with faculty. Semesters are 15 weeks in length. Some courses run for 7 weeks in the Summer session. Please consult with Dr. Mitzi Saunders to develop a plan that works for you.

    Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Sample Program Full-Time Plan (pdf)

     

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    Required Courses

    MSN Integrated Core

    Course Course Name Credits

    NUR 5030

    Analytic Methods for Clinical Practice

    3 credits

    HLH 7100

    Health Care Policy, Economics and the Law in Clinical Practice

    3 credits

    NUR 7000

    Advanced Theory & Knowledge Development for Clinical Practice

    3 credits

    NUR 7300

    Transformational Leadership & Innovation in Advanced Practice

    3 credits

    NUR 7400

    Information Management & Decision Support

    3 credits

    NUR 7500

    Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Theory, Design & Methods

    3 credits

    Advanced Practice Core

    Course Course Name Credits

    NUR 5160

    Advanced Health Assessment

    3 credits

    HLH 5900

    Advanced Pathophysiology

    3 credits

    NUR 5800

    Pharmacology for Advanced Practice

    3 credits

    NUR 6030

    Professional Role Development for Business Practice

    2 credits

    AGCNS Concentration Courses

    Course Course Name Credits

    NUR 5748

    Adult-Gerontology CNS Role & Theory 1

    3 credits

    NUR 5749

    Adult-Gerontology CNS Practicum I

    2 credits

    NUR 5751

    Wellness Adult-Gerontology CNS Practice

    2 credits

    NUR 5752

    Adult-Gerontology CNS Role & Theory II

    3 credits

    NUR 5753

    Adult-Gerontology CNS Practicum II

    2 credits

    DNP Integrated Core

    Course Course Name Credits

    NUR 7700

    DNP Transition

    3 credits

    NUR 7200

    Epidemiology & Population Health

    3 credits

    NUR 7350

    Business Management to Ensure Quality in Health Care

    3 credits

    ETH 7010

    Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice

    3 credits

    NUR 7450

    Analytics for Evidence Based Practice

    3 credits

    NUR 7800

    Project Proposal Development

    3 credits

    NUR 7900

    DNP Clinical Practicum & Project Implementation

    3 credits

    NUR 7920

    DNP Doctoral Project

    3 credits

    Total Credits: 65 credits (41 for MSN conferral and 24 for completion of DNP)

    For more information on courses descriptions, please click here for the catalog.

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    Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist Post-Graduate Certificate

    Becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in the role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is a transformational experience. Students develop clinical expertise, lead nursing care and make real change happen at the bedside and in the boardroom. They can speak concisely about the importance of their role. They know the outcomes of CNS practice. They know those outcomes are critical to the viability of healthcare systems today and they know the CNS role is essential.

    Our students experience the full breadth of the CNS role as a prescriber, coach for patients and staff, team builder and change agent, while improving quality of care and the bottom line for healthcare systems. Our students take the role across healthcare settings from acute to non-acute care.

    Our graduates know who they are when they graduate and are practice-ready. Our 2016-2019 graduates have achieved a 100 percent pass rate for the national certification exams for the Adult-Gerontology CNS through ANCC (non-acute care CNS), AACN (critical care CNS) and ONC-C (oncology). The Detroit Mercy experience is transformational.

    In addition, 100 percent of graduates are employed in CNS roles, care coordination, academia and across settings to include telemedicine. CNSs saw the highest pay spikes among APRNs in 2017 up to $102,000, which is a 7.4 percent than 2015 (Medscape APRN Compensation Report 2017).

    We have a dynamic group of CNS faculty willing to spend the time it takes to make your experience at Detroit Mercy the best it can be. We know graduate studies are an important aspect of your lives and that life continues to move forward in unexpected ways. As a result, our faculty maintain an atmosphere of rigor with flexibility and will work diligently with any student who needs extra support. Students choose their pace. Our students say great things about their Detroit Mercy experience. That is the Detroit Mercy way.

    We look forward to helping you transform your life and career! 

    Online Program

    The program is taught on-line in a flexible and student-centered format with course and faculty availability seven days a week. Students need not be a resident of Michigan to be in the program. Clinical sites and qualified preceptors are identified near the student's home to complete the required clinical component in the role of the CNS.

    A Note to Online Students

    It is the responsibility of all applicants applying for admission in an online graduate nursing program to confirm if the program meets specific licensure requirements in the applicant’s state of residence. Applicants may contact the applicable licensing board.

    Certification

    Upon completion of the Post-Master’s certificate, the nurse will be eligible to sit for the examination for the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

    Adult-Gerontology CNS Post-Master's Certificate Sample Program Plan (pdf)

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